In many cultures, going to grandma's house for the holidays has always been the thing to do. But as we get older, things change. We move to new cities, start our own families, and our grandparents may no longer be around, so our homes may now be the holiday destination for extended family. However, playing host can be a hassle, especially during the holidays when your home becomes your family and friends’ home for a short period. And if this is your first year hosting the holidays at your place, you can be in for a rude awakening if you don’t make the necessary preparations beforehand.
We spoke to NYC-based experience curator and owner of POP! by Yaz, Yasmin “Yaz” Quiles to help guide first-timers. According to Yasmin, an experience curator is “someone who not only focuses on an actual event but the entire experience and that can mean anything from the first point of contact, things from an invitation, a website, all the way to the end and after effects.”
If you are hosting the holidays in your home, it is important to touch on all of these points so that way your guests can have an experience to remember. Here are the steps to successfully host family and friends for the holidays.
1.Plan and Organize:
Before people start showing up to your house, you must plan out what you need and for how many people. It's also a great time to be creative. “The first part is the dream part because it’s the fun part. What do I envision my event to look like? What do I want my people to feel when they come to my space? Ask all of the questions for the first point of contact,” says Yasmin. “What kind of invitation [am I using?] Who am I inviting? What kind of music are we listening to? The food. So, you start thinking about what the vision is, and then after the dreaming, you organize your thoughts.”
That includes putting together a budget. “See what you have access to, what you need help with, and what you may need to outsource,” she advises. Meaning, this is the time to decide if you and your family will be cooking or if everyone will chip in to get dinner catered.
2.Repurpose Your Items:
Photo courtesy of Yasmin Quiles
As you continue to plan and organize, it's important to take stock of what you already have at home. This can also help you stay within budget. If you have a limited budget then start thinking about how to utilize what you already have in a innovative way.
“I also like to start with inventory. What [are] items in your house that you can use? That way you can determine what it is that you have to get,” she suggests. “I feel like a lot of people always put together a list and it's always 'buy, buy, buy, buy,' versus ‘oh, wait a minute, I actually do have some things that I can utilize and I can just use it in a different way.’”
For example, “Utilizing a console as a small bar area or creating fake fireplaces. I think there are ways to use items in your space so that you don’t have to continue to fill it up with new things.”
3.Make Your Guests Feel Like They Are at Home:
Ever heard the saying, "mi casa es su casa?" You want your space to make guests feel like a home away from home and having a cozy place to sleep plays a major part in that. Be realistic about how many people you can fit comfortably in your home. “Figure out how much space you have in your house and how many people you can truly accommodate,” she says. “What that means is even if you have a two-bedroom apartment, what are some creative ways you can create some space for them? Is it an air mattress or is it getting a hotel that is close to you; Airbnb's?”
You also want to provide your guests with the necessary accouterments and the gift of convenience. If you have certain rituals in your home, you want to make sure your guests can also participate in them. “What I love to do with my guests, I always love to make them feel like they're at home even when they are not, so I like to replicate the things I love in a hotel room. In our house we take off our shoes so we always have disposable slippers here that people can slide on or brand new socks in a basket,” she explains. “That way they can feel immediately comfortable the moment they pass the threshold in your house."
"And in the bathroom or if there’s a powder room, I like to put together a little welcome basket and it can be something as simple as here’s your towel, here’s your washcloth, all the little toiletries you may need," she adds. "I give them their own little stash, that way they don’t feel like they’re burdening me by asking, 'oh, do you have q-tips' or whatever it is. It’s all already set up there for them and it makes them feel so welcome and thought of.”
4.Food and Entertainment:
Photo courtesy of Yasmin Quiles
Along with welcome baskets, the Afro-Latina entrepreneur also enjoys putting lists together with a few of her recommendations. Think, welcome lists you receive at hotels and Airbnb. “I’ll put together a short list of my favorite restaurants, my favorite channels or shows to watch that way they can be entertained while I’m doing other things,” she says.
The holidays involve a lot of cooking and so going out to eat may not be an option. But neither is eating mac and cheese, collard greens, and ham all day, every day. So, it's best to provide options for your guests. “When people go to other people’s homes, they really want the house experience so eating out is great, it’s fine, but I think it really makes people happy when immediately there at home at your house," explains Yasmin.
"What I like to do is immediately have an assortment of snacks available and that means everything from the folks that are on a diet to folks who want to indulge and have a little bit of everything. That way we have a good selection. And [I like to have] things that can be left out for a couple of days as well so I’m thinking pre-packaged items that way [they can] 'grab and go.'”
When having guests stay over for a few days, you should want to do more than just stay in and look at each other the whole time. Similarly to the way Yasmin advises providing a list of recommendations for eating out and indoor entertainment for guests, she suggests providing guests with a list of favorite stores or favorite markets with recommendations of what to buy.
This can also be a great time to show your guests where you live by going on walks or a scenic drive. "A lot of times these holiday celebrations happen when we are in the midst of planning and doing things and doing all the last-minute errands. Another thing I like to do is photo albums, people love photo albums.”
Yasmin recommends having a physical photo album that you and your guests can look through or a digital frame such as Aura Frames that holds photos online that you can continue to add to.
What’s left is providing the ambiance. One of the many ways that people do this is by having a playlist. Creating a playlist is fun but can also be time-consuming. Not only do you have to add your auntie's favorite Christmas song to the playlist but you may also want to take a trip down memory lane with your siblings and jam to a throwback from your childhood. Yasmin reveals a solution, which she refers to as an “elevated” experience.
“You can hire a DJ. They can do a set on Twitch,” Yasmin says. “There’s a chatroom function so you can put it on your TV, so all the guests who are there can listen to the music live but if there are guests who can’t make it for whatever reason, they can tune in and participate via the chat.”
The experience curator also suggests having a quiet space for those who are more introverted or need a break from the loud music and crowd.
Whether you and your family decide to cook together or hire a caterer, cleaning up after a big event is always a buzz kill. Yasmin recommends outsourcing help as a way to enjoy yourself and not worry about the aftermath. “Clean up can be a big hassle. It is okay to get a cleaning team. It is okay to hire a bartender. It is okay to hire anybody who can make your job easier,” she assures.
“The point of these events really is to connect and I feel we get so caught up in the doing that we forget that and the party ends and we’re like ‘dang, I didn’t get to have a conversation with my best girlfriend who I haven’t seen in six months.’ Give yourself permission to outsource so that you can have a good time.”
For more information about Yasmin, you can visit her website at yazquiles.com and follow her on Instagram @popbyyaz.
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Feature image courtesy of Yasmin Quiles
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London Alexaundria is the contributing editor for xoNecole. She is an alum of Clark Atlanta University, where she majored in Mass Media Arts and has worked in journalism for over ten years. You can follow her on Instagram and TikTok @theselfcarewriter
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy